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George Orwell > Animal Farm > Chapter VI

Animal Farm

Chapter VI

All that year the animals worked like slaves. But they were happy in their
work; they grudged no effort or sacrifice, well aware that everything that
they did was for the benefit of themselves and those of their kind who
would come after them, and not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings.

Throughout the spring and summer they worked a sixty-hour week, and in
August Napoleon announced that there would be work on Sunday afternoons
as well. This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented
himself from it would have his rations reduced by half. Even so, it was
found necessary to leave certain tasks undone. The harvest was a little
less successful than in the previous year, and two fields which should
have been sown with roots in the early summer were not sown because the
ploughing had not been completed early enough. It was possible to foresee
that the coming winter would be a hard one.

The windmill presented unexpected difficulties. There was a good quarry of
limestone on the farm, and plenty of sand and cement had been found in one
of the outhouses, so that all the materials for building were at hand. But
the problem the animals could not at first solve was how to break up the
stone into pieces of suitable size. There seemed no way of doing this
except with picks and crowbars, which no animal could use, because no
animal could stand on his hind legs. Only after weeks of vain effort did
the right idea occur to somebody-namely, to utilise the force of gravity.
Huge boulders, far too big to be used as they were, were lying all over
the bed of the quarry. The animals lashed ropes round these, and then all
together, cows, horses, sheep, any animal that could lay hold of the
rope--even the pigs sometimes joined in at critical moments--they dragged
them with desperate slowness up the slope to the top of the quarry, where
they were toppled over the edge, to shatter to pieces below. Transporting
the stone when it was once broken was comparatively simple. The horses
carried it off in cart-loads, the sheep dragged single blocks, even Muriel
and Benjamin yoked themselves into an old governess-cart and did their
share. By late summer a sufficient store of stone had accumulated, and
then the building began, under the superintendence of the pigs.

But it was a slow, laborious process. Frequently it took a whole day of
exhausting effort to drag a single boulder to the top of the quarry, and
sometimes when it was pushed over the edge it failed to break. Nothing
could have been achieved without Boxer, whose strength seemed equal to
that of all the rest of the animals put together. When the boulder began
to slip and the animals cried out in despair at finding themselves dragged
down the hill, it was always Boxer who strained himself against the rope
and brought the boulder to a stop. To see him toiling up the slope inch by
inch, his breath coming fast, the tips of his hoofs clawing at the ground,
and his great sides matted with sweat, filled everyone with admiration.
Clover warned him sometimes to be careful not to overstrain himself, but
Boxer would never listen to her. His two slogans, "I will work harder"
and "Napoleon is always right," seemed to him a sufficient answer to all
problems. He had made arrangements with the cockerel to call him
three-quarters of an hour earlier in the mornings instead of half an hour.
And in his spare moments, of which there were not many nowadays, he would
go alone to the quarry, collect a load of broken stone, and drag it down
to the site of the windmill unassisted.

The animals were not badly off throughout that summer, in spite of the
hardness of their work. If they had no more food than they had had in
Jones's day, at least they did not have less. The advantage of only having
to feed themselves, and not having to support five extravagant human
beings as well, was so great that it would have taken a lot of failures to
outweigh it. And in many ways the animal method of doing things was more
efficient and saved labour. Such jobs as weeding, for instance, could be
done with a thoroughness impossible to human beings. And again, since no
animal now stole, it was unnecessary to fence off pasture from arable
land, which saved a lot of labour on the upkeep of hedges and gates.
Nevertheless, as the summer wore on, various unforeseen shortages began to
make them selves felt. There was need of paraffin oil, nails, string, dog
biscuits, and iron for the horses' shoes, none of which could be produced
on the farm. Later there would also be need for seeds and artificial
manures, besides various tools and, finally, the machinery for the
windmill. How these were to be procured, no one was able to imagine.

One Sunday morning, when the animals assembled to receive their orders,
Napoleon announced that he had decided upon a new policy. From now onwards
Animal Farm would engage in trade with the neighbouring farms: not, of
course, for any commercial purpose, but simply in order to obtain certain
materials which were urgently necessary. The needs of the windmill must
override everything else, he said. He was therefore making arrangements to
sell a stack of hay and part of the current year's wheat crop, and later
on, if more money were needed, it would have to be made up by the sale of
eggs, for which there was always a market in Willingdon. The hens, said
Napoleon, should welcome this sacrifice as their own special contribution
towards the building of the windmill.

Once again the animals were conscious of a vague uneasiness. Never to have
any dealings with human beings, never to engage in trade, never to make
use of money--had not these been among the earliest resolutions passed at
that first triumphant Meeting after Jones was expelled? All the animals
remembered passing such resolutions: or at least they thought that they
remembered it. The four young pigs who had protested when Napoleon
abolished the Meetings raised their voices timidly, but they were promptly
silenced by a tremendous growling from the dogs. Then, as usual, the sheep
broke into "Four legs good, two legs bad!" and the momentary awkwardness
was smoothed over. Finally Napoleon raised his trotter for silence and
announced that he had already made all the arrangements. There would be no
need for any of the animals to come in contact with human beings, which
would clearly be most undesirable. He intended to take the whole burden
upon his own shoulders. A Mr. Whymper, a solicitor living in Willingdon,
had agreed to act as intermediary between Animal Farm and the outside
world, and would visit the farm every Monday morning to receive his
instructions. Napoleon ended his speech with his usual cry of "Long live
Animal Farm!" and after the singing of 'Beasts of England' the animals
were dismissed.

Afterwards Squealer made a round of the farm and set the animals' minds at
rest. He assured them that the resolution against engaging in trade and
using money had never been passed, or even suggested. It was pure
imagination, probably traceable in the beginning to lies circulated by
Snowball. A few animals still felt faintly doubtful, but Squealer asked
them shrewdly, "Are you certain that this is not something that you have
dreamed, comrades? Have you any record of such a resolution? Is it written
down anywhere?" And since it was certainly true that nothing of the kind
existed in writing, the animals were satisfied that they had been mistaken.

Every Monday Mr. Whymper visited the farm as had been arranged. He was a
sly-looking little man with side whiskers, a solicitor in a very small way
of business, but sharp enough to have realised earlier than anyone else
that Animal Farm would need a broker and that the commissions would be
worth having. The animals watched his coming and going with a kind of
dread, and avoided him as much as possible. Nevertheless, the sight of
Napoleon, on all fours, delivering orders to Whymper, who stood on two
legs, roused their pride and partly reconciled them to the new
arrangement. Their relations with the human race were now not quite the
same as they had been before. The human beings did not hate Animal Farm
any less now that it was prospering; indeed, they hated it more than ever.
Every human being held it as an article of faith that the farm would go
bankrupt sooner or later, and, above all, that the windmill would be a
failure. They would meet in the public-houses and prove to one another by
means of diagrams that the windmill was bound to fall down, or that if it
did stand up, then that it would never work. And yet, against their will,
they had developed a certain respect for the efficiency with which the
animals were managing their own affairs. One symptom of this was that they
had begun to call Animal Farm by its proper name and ceased to pretend
that it was called the Manor Farm. They had also dropped their championship
of Jones, who had given up hope of getting his farm back and gone to live
in another part of the county. Except through Whymper, there was as yet no
contact between Animal Farm and the outside world, but there were constant
rumours that Napoleon was about to enter into a definite business agreement
either with Mr. Pilkington of Foxwood or with Mr. Frederick of
Pinchfield--but never, it was noticed, with both simultaneously.

It was about this time that the pigs suddenly moved into the farmhouse and
took up their residence there. Again the animals seemed to remember that a
resolution against this had been passed in the early days, and again
Squealer was able to convince them that this was not the case. It was
absolutely necessary, he said, that the pigs, who were the brains of the
farm, should have a quiet place to work in. It was also more suited to the
dignity of the Leader (for of late he had taken to speaking of Napoleon
under the title of "Leader") to live in a house than in a mere sty.
Nevertheless, some of the animals were disturbed when they heard that the
pigs not only took their meals in the kitchen and used the drawing-room
as a recreation room, but also slept in the beds. Boxer passed it off as
usual with "Napoleon is always right!", but Clover, who thought she
remembered a definite ruling against beds, went to the end of the barn and
tried to puzzle out the Seven Commandments which were inscribed there.
Finding herself unable to read more than individual letters, she fetched

"Muriel," she said, "read me the Fourth Commandment. Does it not say
something about never sleeping in a bed?"

With some difficulty Muriel spelt it out.

"It says, 'No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets,"' she announced

Curiously enough, Clover had not remembered that the Fourth Commandment
mentioned sheets; but as it was there on the wall, it must have done so.
And Squealer, who happened to be passing at this moment, attended by two
or three dogs, was able to put the whole matter in its proper perspective.

"You have heard then, comrades," he said, "that we pigs now sleep in the
beds of the farmhouse? And why not? You did not suppose, surely, that
there was ever a ruling against beds? A bed merely means a place to sleep
in. A pile of straw in a stall is a bed, properly regarded. The rule was
against sheets, which are a human invention. We have removed the sheets
from the farmhouse beds, and sleep between blankets. And very comfortable
beds they are too! But not more comfortable than we need, I can tell you,
comrades, with all the brainwork we have to do nowadays. You would not rob
us of our repose, would you, comrades? You would not have us too tired to
carry out our duties? Surely none of you wishes to see Jones back?"

The animals reassured him on this point immediately, and no more was said
about the pigs sleeping in the farmhouse beds. And when, some days
afterwards, it was announced that from now on the pigs would get up an
hour later in the mornings than the other animals, no complaint was made
about that either.

By the autumn the animals were tired but happy. They had had a hard year,
and after the sale of part of the hay and corn, the stores of food for the
winter were none too plentiful, but the windmill compensated for
everything. It was almost half built now. After the harvest there was a
stretch of clear dry weather, and the animals toiled harder than ever,
thinking it well worth while to plod to and fro all day with blocks of
stone if by doing so they could raise the walls another foot. Boxer would
even come out at nights and work for an hour or two on his own by the
light of the harvest moon. In their spare moments the animals would walk
round and round the half-finished mill, admiring the strength and
perpendicularity of its walls and marvelling that they should ever have
been able to build anything so imposing. Only old Benjamin refused to grow
enthusiastic about the windmill, though, as usual, he would utter nothing
beyond the cryptic remark that donkeys live a long time.

November came, with raging south-west winds. Building had to stop because
it was now too wet to mix the cement. Finally there came a night when the
gale was so violent that the farm buildings rocked on their foundations
and several tiles were blown off the roof of the barn. The hens woke up
squawking with terror because they had all dreamed simultaneously of
hearing a gun go off in the distance. In the morning the animals came out
of their stalls to find that the flagstaff had been blown down and an elm
tree at the foot of the orchard had been plucked up like a radish. They
had just noticed this when a cry of despair broke from every animal's
throat. A terrible sight had met their eyes. The windmill was in ruins.

With one accord they dashed down to the spot. Napoleon, who seldom moved
out of a walk, raced ahead of them all. Yes, there it lay, the fruit of
all their struggles, levelled to its foundations, the stones they had
broken and carried so laboriously scattered all around. Unable at first to
speak, they stood gazing mournfully at the litter of fallen stone. Napoleon
paced to and fro in silence, occasionally snuffing at the ground. His tail
had grown rigid and twitched sharply from side to side, a sign in him of
intense mental activity. Suddenly he halted as though his mind were
made up.

"Comrades," he said quietly, "do you know who is responsible for this? Do
you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill?
SNOWBALL!" he suddenly roared in a voice of thunder. "Snowball has done
this thing! In sheer malignity, thinking to set back our plans and avenge
himself for his ignominious expulsion, this traitor has crept here under
cover of night and destroyed our work of nearly a year. Comrades, here
and now I pronounce the death sentence upon Snowball. 'Animal Hero, Second
Class,' and half a bushel of apples to any animal who brings him to
justice. A full bushel to anyone who captures him alive!"

The animals were shocked beyond measure to learn that even Snowball could
be guilty of such an action. There was a cry of indignation, and everyone
began thinking out ways of catching Snowball if he should ever come back.
Almost immediately the footprints of a pig were discovered in the grass at
a little distance from the knoll. They could only be traced for a few
yards, but appeared to lead to a hole in the hedge. Napoleon snuffed
deeply at them and pronounced them to be Snowball's. He gave it as his
opinion that Snowball had probably come from the direction of Foxwood Farm.

"No more delays, comrades!" cried Napoleon when the footprints had been
examined. "There is work to be done. This very morning we begin rebuilding
the windmill, and we will build all through the winter, rain or shine. We
will teach this miserable traitor that he cannot undo our work so easily.
Remember, comrades, there must be no alteration in our plans: they shall
be carried out to the day. Forward, comrades! Long live the windmill! Long
live Animal Farm!"

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